France to dissolve far-right anti-migrant group Generation Identitaire

France to dissolve far-right anti-migrant group Generation Identitaire
Founded in 2012, Generation Identitaire is a far-right political identity movement that may be dissolved following action to prevent migrants from coming to France.
3 min read
15 February, 2021
Generation identitaire displays a racist banner during an anti-racist protest in Paris [GETTY]
A French far-right group known for being hostile towards migrants may be dissolved, after Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced on Saturday he plans to ban it.

Founded in 2012, Generation Identitaire identifies itself as a far-right political movement that has repeatedly tried to bar migrants from entering the country.

The group has conducted high-profile raids in the French Alps and the Pyrenees, and has already been faced with justice several times, notably for "provoking racial or religious discrimination".

"This organisation has now 10 days to respond," Darmanin wrote on Twitter late on Saturday. If it cannot prove the legality of the actions, the group will be dissolved within two weeks, he said.

The move to dissolve the group began after it conducted around thirty activists, involving deploying cars and drones at the French border with Spain on January 26.

The group said it sought to "monitor the border" and prevent possible migrants from crossing it illegally through a campaign called "Defend Europe".

"This massive immigration against which the various governments have never really fought, we, Generation identitaire [...] decided to oppose it concretely so we wanted to lend a hand to the police," Thaïs d'Escufon, a spokesperson for Generation Identitaire in Toulouse, told AFP.

The following day, France's minister of interior said he was "scandalised" by the initiative, prompting him to move "to propose the dissolution" of the group.

Several officials from Occitania, where the group's vehicles were deployed, had also called for the dissolution of the "violent and dangerous far-right small group" and called for a preliminary investigation over "public provocation to racial hatred".

The actions of Generation Identitaire fall under "incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence against a person or a group of people because of their origin", according to the Code of Internal Security.

France's far-right parties react

In a press release published on Sunday, the far-right and anti-migrant political party National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen, condemned dissolving Generation Identitaire and expressed concern over the "dangerous attack on fundamental freedoms".

"Should we admit that we can no longer make a link between massive immigration and insecurity?", the statement said.

Clément Martin, spokesperson for Generation Identitaire, told Le Figaro that the move is "a political manoeuvrer on the part of the government".

Martin warned of "the use of all possible legal avenues to contest this decision", which he said was motivated by "actions for which we have not been condemned".

"We are whistle-blowers, just like Greenpeace", Martin added. "We are reproached for the very object of our fight, they try to silence us while we are peacefully opposed to mass immigration."

If dissolved, Generation Identitaire says it will "fight against Islamisation", adding that "the French and European identity will continue well beyond our movement".

In December, three Generation Identitaire activists were sentenced to six months in jail after using two helicopters to attempt to stop migrants from entering France at the Franco-Italian border in 2018. 

The movement was also noticed on June 13, 2020, by putting up a banner that read: "Justice for the victims of anti-white racism. White Lives Matter" on a balcony overlooking an anti-racist demonstration organised by the Truth for Adama committee. Adama Traoré was a 24-year-old black man who was killed on July 19, 2016, during an arrest.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected